Volume 3 November 2013
Your Digital Footprint
We all use caution when thinking about how actions or words might affect our personal and professional reputations. But do we use as much caution as we should online? According to the EGUSD Digital Citizenship Blog, "A digital footprint is all of the information online about a person either posted by that person or others, intentionally or unintentionally." It is important as educators that we consider our digital footprints, which requires monitoring and diligence on your part.
The content and tone of online interactions must be above reproach. We should not post about students, parents, or our schools in a manner that could draw criticism. This has been a challenge since the onset of social media. Recently, teachers around the country that have found themselves in hot water over social networking interactions. NEA took on this issue in an article titled "Social Networking Nightmares". While the first few cases in the article seem extreme, keep reading. We all know people who post a comment that seems innocuous, but in fact, it may come back to haunt them. Though teachers with permanent status have more protections than probationary teachers, you must still be careful. Remember that probationary teachers can be non-reelected and a cause is not required. See our Social Networking Handout for some suggested guidelines (see column to the right).
Teachers do have First Amendment rights of free speech. However, this right has been tested in cases that disrupt the learning environment or breach confidentiality. Therefore, it is important for us to be responsible for our online actions. Remember, nothing online is truly private!
As an added resource check out the EGUSD Digital Citizenship Blog. While the intended audience is students, it is still a great resource for educators as well.